Dousing yourself in extravagant beads and masks may seem gaudy to some, but in New Orleans, it’s pretty ordinary. Ask any NoLa local: the bigger, the better when it comes to Fat Tuesday festivities. Mardi Gras can easily be described as a cultural phenomenon: music, entertainment, food, parades and celebrations for a nearly a month or longer. If you can’t attend the NoLa festivities this year, why not bring Bourbon Street to your block? Here’s a look at everything you’ll need to throw the ultimate Mardis Gras party…
The Backstory of Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, which refers to the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). The flamboyancy of the festival began as a preface to Lent (the 40 days of penance prior to Easter Sunday). The idea was for the people to celebrate by excessively eating, drinking and being merry in preparation of the 40 days of sacrifice. Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the world, but internationally, it’s more commonly known as Carnival.
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green, which signify justice, power and faith, respectively. Rex, the king of carnival, handpicked the customary colors in 1892, at the suggestion of the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. Since then, millions of purple, gold and green beads and coins have been tossed throughout the streets of New Orleans.
Let’s Get The Party Started
It doesn’t need to be Fat Tuesday to party like it is! Mardi Gras celebrations include a variety fun traditions that are sure to make your party a hit. You’ll need electrifying music, good eats, colorful masks and tons of beads. Bring Bourbon Street home and host a “N’awlins” inspired Mardi Gras party for your friends and family.
How to Charm Your Guests
- To liven up the crowd, hire a Jazz Band or Blues Band to fill your party with the smooth sounds of NoLa.
- In the spirit of extravagance, consider booking a Brazilian or Mardi Gras Entertainer to help loosen up your guests and get their feet moving!
- Instead of splurging on a photographer, rent a Photo Booth to capture the memories of your first hometown Mardi Gras.
Get Into The Spirit
Masquerades and Mardi Gras go hand-in-hand. DIY masks are all good and well, but why not think outside-the-box this Mardi Gras season? Consider inviting a Face Painter or Make-Up Artist to paint on your disguise. A little glam goes a long way, at any age!
Coins, beads, cups and a variety of other trinkets are often thrown into the streets from the parade floats or the balconies on Bourbon St. Your local party supply store is sure to be stocked with most of these Mardi Gras staples. Grab a few “throws” as the locals call them, they are perfect party favors!
As far as decor goes, start with themed colors: anything purple, gold and green will work. Consider having bowls or vases full or beads or even hang beads from the light fixtures. Have fun with it, get extravagant, there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to Mardi Gras.
Indulge in NoLa Cuisine
Though the parties and parades are not to be missed, the best part of New Orleans may very well be the food! Bring in a Caterer or Personal Chef to serve up some cajun cooking. Gumbo, jambalaya and shrimp & grits are a few staples when it comes to Creole dishes, but if you’re going for finger food, mini po’boys, hushpuppies and king cake are great options. Last, but most definitely not least, are the drinks! Bring in a Bartender to make sure the drinks stay flowing and the party lasts all night (age-permitting, of course). Get a taste of the Big Easy by sipping on a classic festive cocktail, like a New Orleans Hurricane.
Still not sure who to book or don’t have the time to plan a party? Bring on an Event Planner to ease the process and guarantee a night of hassle-free festivities. Which ever way you decide to go, we’re wishing you peace, love & gumbo at your next Mardi Gras bash!